The biggest item on the Fort Myers Beach Town Council’s 300 page agenda Monday will be the rezoning request from the owners of the Myerside resort. A second public hearing will be held then a vote taken by the council on whether the property, located on School street, will be rezoned from Residential Conservation to Commercial Planned Development.
The owners, Beverly Milligan and her husband Rolland, have been giving tours of their facility all week. Their goal is to show people how they’ve transformed the area from what was once a drug-infested eyesore to a respectable family resort in the heart of the island.
There’s been formidable opposition to the zone change. Former Mayor Tracey Gore has organized support in an attempt to convince the council to vote against the zone change. It’s unclear if Gore has any political sway with this current council. It’s well known in the community that Gore and Milligan have mixed it up politically in the past and this may just be personal.
Milligan was head of the Estero Island Taxpapers Association when Gore, as Mayor, was caught at The Whale discussing the Margaritaville lawsuit with then Vice Mayor Dennis Boback and the person who filed the lawsuit.
The EITA was the force behind getting that pow-wow out to the public and filing a Sunshine Law complaint with the state. The state ruled Gore and Boback did not violate the Sunshine Law, but the damage was done. There were pictures and audio which made the former Mayor look very un-Mayor like. Gore decided not to run for re-election and Boback lost his bid for another term.
Gore’s argument focuses on the Beach School. She says she’s worried a proposed restaurant, that would serve beer and wine, would have an impact on the kids at the school. The restaurant would face Estero Boulevard. Two other restaurants, equally as close to the school, also serve beer and wine.
The Myerside side is very well represented. Local attorney Bev Grady and engineer Patrick Vanasse made a detailed presentation about how the zone change would conserve the historical cottage look of Fort Myers Beach. In addition to a small restaurant and retail shop, the zone change would allow Myerside to add two more cottages, bringing their total to 14.
The project also has the support of former Mayor Dan Hughes and won unanimous support from the Local Planning Agency. In fact LPA Chair Megan Heil said publicly that the town staff didn’t make much a case for recommending the change be denied.
The town staff has recommended the application put forth by the owners of Myerside be denied. The owners and the LPA believe the changes are consistent with the town’s Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code. The town staff does not.
Tours of the location will be held through Saturday. If you’re interested you should call (239) 765-0297
We will carry the Town Council meeting live Monday on our Facebook page.